By 3 years of age, preschoolers who live in families where there are adequate resources, have heard 500,000 “encouragements” which are those positive, teaching phrases that let kids know they’re behaving in an acceptable manner.
In these families, kids have heard 80,000 discouragements which are “corrections” to behavior or warnings about danger.
In poverty-stricken families, the ratio of encouragements to discouragements is reversed. Poor children hear many more disapproving and negative messages which could set the stage for anxiety and depression in their later years.
If a preschooler anticipates a negative relationship with adults will they behave in ways that earn them discouraging and disapproving comments because that’s normal for them?
Teachers of young children should consider their students’ background before making judgments.
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